8 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an RFP Response Printer

It’s key to find a vendor you can trust for printing your RFP proposal responses. Here are 8 questions you should ask when considering a print vendor.

Published on 26 February, 2021
woman finds mistake in print proposal

When it comes to printing and delivering hard copies of your RFP proposal responses, it is important to find a vendor who you can trust. After all, your team will likely spend long hours crafting the perfect proposal, so the last thing you want to do is ruin your hard work by submitting a sub-par printed hard copy.

That is why it is important to do the proper due diligence before selecting a print vendor. Here are eight questions to ask – and Mimeo’s answer to each – so that you find the best partner for your team.

1. What kind of print technology does the printer use?

Printing on-demand in color

First and foremost, you want to know what kind of printing they do. Many local shops rely on offset printing, which requires advanced setup and a minimum number of copies. Meanwhile, on-demand printers use digital printing to produce as few as one copy at a time without time-sucking setup.

For a bonus, ask if you can go on a tour (live or virtual) of their print facilities to learn how they work. For example, we have a mini tour available on our website!

2. How do you submit final files?

Document file upload to computer

The next question is how they handle file submission. Do you email them to a specific account? Upload them to a secure folder? Or do they have an online interface?

Since business proposals often require multiple files submitted by various people, it is important to know ahead of time how they will accept your files – and how you will keep them organized.

As for Mimeo, we offer an online library where you can store files based on section, client, project, or any other hierarchy that makes sense to you.

3. How do you customize finishing options?

Speaking of organization, you probably have specific requirements for your hard copy proposal. Maybe you want to submit them in custom binders emblazoned with your logo. Maybe you need to have seven tabs for each section labeled in your brand’s font. Whatever your requirements are, make sure to ask your printer how they would accept such instructions, so that you know how much time it will add to your process.

Mimeo’s answer is pretty simple: we designed our solution so you can do this online in a matter of minutes, with a real-time proof reflecting every customization you select.

4. How do you handle proofs before printing?

digital proofs save you time

Speaking of proofs, make sure you know ahead of time how your printer handles samples. For example, do they deliver a physical proof to you, and if so, how much time does that add to the process? If you need something turned around last-minute, are they able to offer a digital proof?

Mimeo was created to be a twenty-first century printer that doesn’t require physical proofs. While we are happy to send you a sample project, paper samples, and more, we know that at the moment you order your hard copy, you don’t have time to wait for a physical proof. Our real-time builder stands in as your digital proof, reflecting every selection, including binding, tabs, and more.

Check out this video to learn more about our virtual proofs.

5. How do you handle wet signature requirements?

wet signature

Your prospective client may require a wet signature on each hard copy of your proposal. Many times, proposal teams interpret that to mean they must do the printing themselves. However, there are other ways to manage wet signatures. Be sure to ask your printer about this to understand their process (and their familiarity with this need).

At Mimeo, we work with you to find the best solution. Oftentimes, this means shipping the signature page to you to sign and send back. For tighter deadlines, we get creative.

6. How quickly can you print and ship my proposal?

For proposal teams, this is often the most important question. Assuming your team finishes the files at 6 pm, can the printer turn it around overnight? What kind of shipping do they offer, and will it deliver to meet your deadline? Since many printers cannot handle next-day delivery, too many proposal teams end up printing in-house, just to make sure they have time to finish the RFP response.

Mimeo was designed to solve this exact problem. We accept projects as late as 10 pm ET and guarantee delivery by 8:30 am the next morning (local time) in the USA.

7. How do you ship final hard copies? Do you offer tracking?

Mimeo tracking

Speaking of delivery, make sure you ask ahead of time about how they handle shipping, especially if your RFP is not being delivered locally. Many printers only handle regional delivery and will either send to your office for further shipping or work with a retail shipper.

Since your prospective client isn’t going to read your RFP response if it doesn’t show up, it is in your best interest to nail down this process (and make sure you get tracking numbers).

Here is how Mimeo handles it: we are located with the FedEx North American hub so that we can have the latest pick-up (1 am CT). Within your online account, you will get real-time updates of when your order ships, when a tracking number is available, and when it delivers. All of this is designed to deliver your RFP ASAP, with as little anxiety for you as possible.

8. How do you handle worst-case scenarios, such as printing errors or late file submission?

woman finds mistake in print proposal

No matter how airtight your process or how practiced your printer, life happens. Things go wrong, timelines get shifted, machines or humans make mistakes. When selecting your print vendor, be sure to ask how they handle worst-case scenarios.

For example, at Mimeo, we have a customer care team dedicated to making sure your print job goes right. That includes reviewing your files after submission, quality checks as we print, and phone or chat support after shipping. If anything is wrong with your final product, we take full responsibility and reprint or reship as necessary.

We also make room for you to make mistakes. If your files aren’t uploaded correctly, we usually catch that before printing. And if your files don’t upload until after that 10 pm ET deadline…we work with you to make sure they are delivered anyway, even if it means renting a van and delivering to a different state ourselves.

Bonus: Do you have any happy customers who are willing to share their stories?

Perhaps most importantly, be sure to ask your printer if they have customers similar to you who are willing to speak about their experience. Your proposals are valuable, so make sure your printer is prepared to handle them.

At Mimeo, we print proposals every day, and we have dozens of customers happy to share their experiences (including Iron Mountain, Siemens, and Motorola).

Your team works hard on RFP responses, so your hard copies should work just as hard. Be sure to find the right printer who will deliver high-quality print on time, every time. We here at Mimeo are ready to help – just get in touch if you want to do a sample project.

Mimeo Marketing Team

Mimeo is a global online print provider with a mission to give customers back their time. By combining front and back-end technology with a lean production model, Mimeo is the only company in the industry to guarantee your late-night print order will be produced, shipped, and delivered by 8 am the next morning. For more information, visit mimeo.com and see how Mimeo’s solutions can help you save time today.

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